The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Haridopolos US senate campaign consultant handsomely paid by Fla GOP

11

April

Ok, it's true Buzz tends to be both nerdy and voyeuristic when campaign finance reports come out. Nothing more intriguing than seeing where all those millions go to fund Florida's political machine.

The latest expenditure report suggest that Rick Scott's anti-politics-as-usual governorship is still plenty political. The state GOP in February paid Scott's campaign pollster Fabrizio McLaughlin and Associates $61,000 in February, for instance, and in January paid his opposition researcher, Memphis-based Next Generation Strategies, $30,000.

But there appears to be no campaign consultant better paid this year than Gainesville-based Data Targeting Systems, paid $69,000 for consulting work by the state GOP from January through March. It's Pat Bainter's firm, and Bainter is Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Haridopolos' top campaign strategist. No biggie were Haridopolos running for state office, where corporate campaign contributions are fine, but for federal office that's a big time violation of campaign finance laws.

All of which begs the question: Since Haridopolos is no longer leading the campaign effort for the Florida GOP senate (Data Targeting was paid more than $200,000 before Haridopolos became senate president), why is he still getting paid so much by the state party? 

"Pat's been a consultant to the RPOF for quite awhile,'' said Florida GOP spokesman Trey Stapleton, stressing that Bainter's state party work "definitely not" has anything to do with Haridopolos' federal campaign. "He's always consulted on senate campaign stuff."

[Last modified: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 9:59am]

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